Creating a Minimalist Garage Guide

Here’s our creating a minimalist garage guide including organization, storage, cleaning, layout and design tips.Minimalist garage with stainless storage cabinets workbench islandAs you pull into the garage, the light snaps on. Heaped mounds of unused appliances, old toys, winter clothes and that hideous lawn ornament threaten to topple over at any moment. Hurriedly, you close the garage door before any passing neighbor can catch a glimpse of your secret shame.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. We have a tendency to treat the garage as if it’s the largest junk drawer in the house. Don’t know where to put that old TV? Bring it out to the garage. Not ready to part with your collection of vintage albums? Stick them in the garage.

Before long, your garage gets so full that you can’t even remember what’s in there, much less find what you’re looking for. Sometimes, the garage gets so overstuffed, you end up parking in the driveway or on the street.

If you’re ready to tame the chaos, keep reading for tips on how to apply minimalist organization and return your garage to a functional space. [toc]

Minimalist Garage Organization

Minimalist garage organization with wall mounted cabinetsWhen excess mess is causing stress, minimalism is the answer. Applying the ‘less is more’ minimalist philosophy to your garage forces you to think about what is really important to you.

When you prioritize the things you value most, life gets easier and more fun. The next time you need to take care of your lawn or start a home improvement project, you’ll know exactly where everything is.

As a life philosophy, minimalism is all about simplification and streamlining. Fewer possessions doesn’t have to mean a lower quality of life.

Garage Cleaning Tips to Downsize

Connect with your reason for wanting a minimalist garage. Imagine how relaxed you will feel when the project is completed.

Then take everything out of your garage. Yes, everything. Choose a sunny day and start hauling. Don’t get bogged down in making decisions at this point, just get it all out. This phase of the project is about undoing the chaos that has accumulated and giving you a blank space.

The belongings heaped on your lawn or in your living room are now homeless. Some of them will go back into the garage, but others will find new places to live inside your house. Many of them will be donated or discarded.

When everything is out (including removable storage) it’s time to clean.

Garage Cleaning Supplies

Start with the top corners of the garage, where insects and dust tend to accumulate. You may want to don a dust mask, as your garage has likely never been deep cleaned.

Dust the walls and clean them with hot soapy water and a soft sponge. If you want to paint or decorate the walls, now is the time to do so. Consider gray paint a few shades darker than your floor for a sophisticated monochrome design.

Use a stiff-bristled push broom to sweep the floor clean. If there are fresh oily stains on the floor, you can soak up excess liquid by spreading kitty litter over the stain.

However, oil and grease penetrates into unsealed concrete, so you may need to do a deeper clean. Peroxide-based products are eco-friendly and effective at combating grease and oil.

Other options for cleaning your floor include trisodium phosphate (TSP) and muriatic acid. TSP will preserve the concrete, but when it leaches into soil, the downstream effects are disastrous for local wildlife. Unless your garage has a drain, you cannot responsibly clean it with TSP.

Muriatic acid will dissolve not only the grease and oil stains, but also the binder in your concrete. This can leave your garage dustier than when you started as the acid pulls out calcium hydroxide and coats the floor in a fluffy white dust.

Using a power washer will significantly improve the appearance of your floor, and is an excellent way to prepare for application of a sealant.

Using a high-gloss sealant over your concrete floor encourages you to see the garage as a finished room that is part of your home rather than merely attached to it.

List of Garage Cleaning Supplies

Stiff-bristled push broom Degreaser & muriatic acid for cleaning oil stains
Hand Cleaner, sponges, shop towels Power washer for cleaning floors
Paint, tray and brushes High-gloss sealant for polishing concrete floors
Soap, mop and buckets Dust masks

Sorting Items In the Garage

Minimalist garage with long work bench tool box and pegboard tool storageNow that the garage is clean, you’re ready to start sorting through your belongings. As you pick up each item, ask yourself these questions.

‘Do I want to keep this?’ If the answer is no, throw it in the trash right now, or put it in the car to be donated. If you’re not sure, don’t spend too much time debating — just put it to one side. We’ll come back to these items later. If you definitely want to keep the item, ask yourself the next question.

‘Does this belong in the garage?’ Again, if the answer is no, move the item out of the area. If you’re not sure, put it to one side.

When you’ve asked these questions of every item in the garage, you’re left with things that you want to keep, which also belong in your garage, and some things you’re not sure about.

To determine if you can keep everything you want to, you’ll need to figure out how much storage space you actually have.

Minimalist Garage Layout

Park your car in the empty garage and measure 36 inches from either side. Use colored gaffer’s tape to mark out a zone on the floor. This space is sacred — nothing can be stored inside the lines.

Next, mark out a 36 inch wide path from the car to the door. Even if all you manage to do is keep these zones clear, your garage experience will be significantly improved as you’re able to navigate from the car to the house without triggering an avalanche.

Visit this page for more about the standard garage sizes.

Minimalist Garage Design Tips

Garage with well organized rolling toolbox and wall mounted cabinets with metal doorsNow you’re finally ready to start putting things back in and organizing them. Minimalism takes conviction — you will need to ruthlessly purge excess belongings until you’re left only with what is necessary and functional. There are a few design tenets to adopt that can help ease the process.

If it fits on a shelf, it’s not allowed on the floor. Try to keep the floor as clear as possible, and avoid treating it like an extra shelf. Lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and other large items can’t go on shelves, so you’ll need to allocate floor space for those.

No stacking or crowding. You must be able to clearly see each item on your shelves or in a cabinet. No item should be touching any other item. You should be able to pull out or access any box or container without having to move something on top of it.

Prioritize items with multiple uses. You won’t be able to keep everything. When your garage is full of useful but unused items, how do you decide which ones to keep?

Everything in your minimalist garage should be clean and in good working condition. Each item should be something that brings you joy to use or makes your life better in some way. If it accomplishes more than one task, even better.

Plan your garage with design software. There are an assortment of garage design software programs that can help you plan your layout. You can enter the space of your garage and try positioning different cabinetry and storage accessories to see what layout work for your space.

Minimalist Garage Storage Ideas

Custom minimalist garage storage design with clean layoutOne way to keep a minimalist feel in your garage is to utilize vertical space. Pegboard fitted with hooks and installed on the wall is a great way to get your tools off the floor and keep things visually organized.

Open shelving can quickly become overcrowded and destroy your minimalist design, so if you’re going to use it, make sure each item has its own space, and is at least two inches from the edge of the shelf.

Cabinets are another choice for keeping your belongings out of view and maintaining a streamlined profile. Just be careful not to use the closed door as an excuse for clutter. Consider using a label maker to clearly delineate the space dedicated to each item.

If you’re using your garage for storage, invest in matching containers that stack easily. Make a list of everything that is inside the container, and tape a copy of the list to the top and side. Leave space around each storage box rather than cramming them tightly together.

Why You Should Create a Minimalist Garage

If your messy garage isn’t bothering you, then your time is better spent elsewhere. There’s nothing wrong with having a garage packed to the gills, unless it’s interfering with your functioning.

A minimalist garage is not only visually appealing, it’s also psychologically soothing. When you pare your belongings down to the bare minimum, you need less storage space, and you can customize that storage space to meet your needs.

When items are clearly visible, it takes the dread out of going to the garage to try to find something. Utilizing a monochrome design and a high-gloss concrete sealant makes your garage feel more like part of the house, and less like an outdoor shed.

Once you’ve created a minimalist garage, take photos of the finished, pristine state. Then, when life happens and it gets disordered again, you’ll have a reference for how to put things right. Best of all, the next time you pull into your garage, you won’t have to worry about what the neighbors think.

Visit this page for more related garage storage ideas.

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One Comment

  1. To clean up oil stains on the garage floor you can throw down cat litter and let it sit for several hours. Then use a dust pan to sweep up the cat litter. Next cover the oil stain with dish soap and scrub it with a wire brush to remove the staining. I didnt see you mention it above but its worked best for my garage when I’m cleaning up after my old truck.

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